“An Epidemic of Disbelief”
A class-action suit in Austin, Texas, may have a better chance of showing gender discrimination based on one striking fact: Of the more than 200 sexual-assault cases police referred to prosecutors from July 2016 to June 2017, eight resulted in plea agreements, but only one case went to trial. The victim was a man.Yet even as police and prosecutors seem stuck in time, our culture is moving forward. This moment feels fundamentally different from previous decades, when a sensational rape trial would trigger a surge of outrage and promises of reform, only to see the scandal ebb from consciousness. Too many women have disclosed their #MeToo moments; too many rape kits have been pulled out of storage rooms. And if the success of the Cleveland task force proves anything, it is this: Rape cases are winnable. Serial rapists could be swept from the streets and untold numbers of women could escape the worst moments of their life, if police and prosecutors would suspend their disbelief.